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Karnataka government concedes Sandalwood demand, allows 100% occupancy in cinemas

Karnataka government concedes Sandalwood demand, allows 100% occupancy in cinemas
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Karnataka government concedes Sandalwood demand, allows 100% occupancy in cinemas

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Responding to the Sandalwood request, the Karnataka government has agreed to permit 100 percent occupancy in theatres. The State government's Tuesday's decision to allow only 50% occupancy in cinemas until February 28 disappointed Sandalwood which is reeling under heavy losses due to Covid-induced lockdown.

Bengaluru: Responding to the Sandalwood request, the Karnataka government has agreed to permit 100 percent occupancy in theatres. The State government's Tuesday's decision to allow only 50% occupancy in cinemas until February 28 disappointed Sandalwood which is reeling under heavy losses due to Covid-induced lockdown. The Union government in its recent order permitted to allow cinemas and theatres to run to their full capacity, but Karnataka decided to wait till Febraury 28 to follow suit fearing coronavirus second wave. With several Kannada films lined up for release cinema halls and filmmakers hoping to get some relief, the government's move did not go down well with distributors and producers who demanded an audience with the Chief Minister to discuss the issue.

On Wednesday, a team headed by actor Shivarajkumar along with Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) president D.R. Jayaraj met Health Minister K Sudhakar and requested him to reconsider the decision. The minister responded positively and instructed the technical community to issue fresh guideline.

Speaking to The Hans India, Sudhakar said, "Today the issue was discussed with senior actor Shivarajakumar, Sa Ra Govindu, Film Chamber president Jairaj, Tara and Sunil Puranik. Some decisions have been taken at the meeting held on the advice of the CM. As the central government permitted 100 percent capacity based on the situation in the States, we ordered a 50 percent occupancy on Tuesday. Now Sandalwood appealed claiming that workers, unions, actors, and the technical personnel are in trouble. As per the guidelines of the Technical Advisory Committee, 100 per cent seats are allowed for four weeks. But stricter guidelines will be put in place. People should adopt it and also the owner should maintain the same."

Dhruva Sarja, whose film 'Pogaru' is set for release on February 19, joined actors like Shivarajkumar, Puneeth Rajkumar, Dhananjaya in demanding permission for 100 percent occupancy in cinema halls. Many distributors and producers questioned the rationale behind government's decision at a time when public transport, markets and malls are allowed to function normally.

The official release issued on Tuesday read: "After reviewing the current Covid scenario and also considering the possible second wave of the virus, it has been decided that as a matter of abundant precaution and in the larger interest of public health, 50% capacity of seating in cinema halls shall continue till 28th of February, 2021."

The latest circular said shops, malls, multiplexes and entertainment parks, depending on the size, the entry will be regulated to avoid crowding. Special events that attract crowds will be avoided. Hotels and restaurants should not exceed the full seating capacity, said the circular.

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